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We follow a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach — working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — to achieve improved human health and well-being. Our approach identifies the inhabitants who are most vulnerable due to a lack of material wealth, water and food insecurity, and gender-related issues. We recognize that the health and well-being of local inhabitants is key to the conservation and sustainability of the Galapagos, like many other ecologically sensitive places.

Our projects include topics in:

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health & Policy
  • Gender Studies
  • Tourism
  • Food Security & Nutrition
  • Pollution

Today the Galapagos Islands, a milestone of sustainability, are faced with the challenges of consumptive demands of a growing tourism sector, an increasing residential population attracted to the Galapagos for jobs in the tourism industry, environmental management institutions and policies of government and non-government organizations, and ecosystems that are highly vulnerable to human activities and decision making. Research at the GSC focused on these linked human-environment interactions takes shape along the following lines of inquiry: human migration and tourism, public health and disease ecology, agriculture and fisheries, access to care, land use/land cover dynamics, invasive species eradication, social and ecological vulnerability and resilience, conservation and economic development, environmental health, and nutrition.

Watch a video about one of our projects, about food and water insecurity in the Galapagos:

Research Projects

A stall full of candy and snack bags

The Dual Burden of Disease in the Galapagos, Ecuador: An Interdisciplinary Study of Food and Water on Isabela Island

People:  Donald L Fejfar, Elijah Watson, Kishan PatelNick BadhwaKhristopher NicholasAmanda Thompson, Margaret Bentley, and Jill Stewart
Departments: Nutrition, Anthropology, Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences

An empty playground

Feasibility of Educational Support Measures for Parenting Skills and Mental Health Symptoms in Mothers of Young Children in the Galapagos

People: Julee Waldrop, Betty Martinez, Alasia Ledford, Amanda Thompson, and Hannah Jahnke
Departments: Nursing, Anthropology

Hannah Jahnke stands in front of a mural depicting a mother holding her child and a mother seal and her baby. The mural reads "Proteger lalactancia."

Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies: The intergenerational effects of maternal stress in the Galapagos Islands

People: Hannah JahnkeAmanda Thompson, Margaret Bentley, and Enrique Terán
Departments: Anthropology, Nutrition


Two trays lined with little cubes that are filled with water for testing.

Water Quality Assessments on San Cristobal Island, Ecuador

People: Jill Stewart and Valeria Ochoa-Herrera
Departments: Environmental Sciences & Engineering


Five researchers stand in a field around a drone, the middle researcher launching the drone into the air.

Agriculture, Wildlife, and Land Use in the Galapagos

People: Francisco LasoSteve Walsh, and Javier Arce-Nazario
Departments: Geography


Rows of various vegetables at a stall in an outdoor market

Water, Food, and Health in San Cristóbal: The Healthy Family Study

People:  Amanda ThompsonEnrique Terán, Margaret Bentley, Jill Stewart, Jaime Ocampo, Graham Pluck, and Khristopher Nicholas
Departments: Anthropology, Nutrition, Environmental Sciences & Engineering


Left: aerial map of part of the Galapagos with "Maker Scores" indicated; right: same map but with a radar superimposed indicating "Food Environment Q x A"

Food Environments in the Galapagos: Geographic and Behavioral Determinants of Diet and Health

People: Khristopher Nicholas, Margaret Bentley, and Amanda Thompson
Departments: Nutrition, Anthropology